Hakkinen might have been denied the third consecutive Formula 1 title, that would have given him an almost mythical place in history’s book of grand Prix legends, with the likes of Fangio, Senna and Niki Lauda also having achieved three wins between them in a row. But, still stubborn and quiet like always, he insisted that he is still not yet ready to give up, or accept that he has been beaten – and indeed, not by another man, but by a machine, a car and the determination of an entire nation.
The past years have seen the greatest comeback in F1 history, as the teams and drivers have come up with new strategies to outwit their opponents. But what has the Finn got left to boast about?
Well, it may not be the most obvious reason – and one can never really know if what is happening to a man is entirely his own doing – but the answer is the same no matter what. Hakkinen, the last of the true giants of F1, is leading the race for World Champion for the third time – and this time, he might actually win it. It seems that when the pressure gets too much, every man has an inner fire that burns down everything else.
After last year’s miserable experience at the Monaco Grand Prix, Hakkinen has decided to go into uncharted waters – and he might be onto a new direction altogether. Although he has been known to be a little too aggressive with the team, it could simply be that he might be missing something important – and perhaps he has forgotten what it was before. But who cares about a man who was so close to being a champion and then forgot what he had left behind.
It seems that this year, Hakkinen will be teamed up with his former Ferrari colleague Nico Rosberg, who has decided to make a fresh start after a disappointing season with Mercedes. If Rosberg is able to put the pressure on Hakkinen, who knows what might happen.
And if there is one man who knows how to keep his cool in the heat of competition, it is probably Nico Rosberg. He might even be able to bring back his old trick of winning, as he did when he was at Ferrari, but this time with the more powerful engine – and a lot more speed.